One of the early leaders in wave energy production, Ocean Power Technologies, is barely treading water these days as it runs up against mounting criticism from those who complain that big federal grants for private wave energy companies are putting the cart before the horse. They don’t even have proven devices tested yet. And despite that they’re still getting millions in grants from Washington while wave energy’s impact on tourism and ocean fishing aren’t even yet known. Others point out that the market price of such wave energy may require huge federal subsidies for the foreseeable future while harming our coast’s billion dollar a year fishing industry and the coastal economy along with it.
It begs the question of whether wave energy has become such a private speculative activity that it might be best to assign it to our public research institutions like Hatfield Marine Science Center, University of Washington or Scripps Institution in San Diego to flesh out this “industry” to see if it’s even feasible or capable of being a good neighbor or economic partner. Maybe that’s where the research grants ought to go – to our public institutions so there is adequate transparency and accountability.
At any rate, here’s more on the story from the Oregonian. Click here.